Automation of subsea connections for clusters of wave energy converters
2015 (English)In: The Proceedings of the Twenty-fifth (2015) International Ocean and Polar Engineering Conference, 2015Conference paper (Refereed)
To make wave power a viable energy source, large clusters of wave energy converters should be deployed. For most of the farms the output power of the WECs should be aggregated in a marine substation and then transmitted to the grid. The need for cost effective underwater cable connection operations is one of the main issues in offshore operations. Underwater connections can be conducted with wet- or dry-mateable connectors, performed by divers or ROVs. Although there are existing solutions used by the oil and gas industry that could be employed, the capital expenditure needed is not compatible with the offshore renewable energy industry.
The objective of this research is to decrease costs and minimize working hazards associated with sub-sea work when performing these underwater electrical connections. This article presents a solution using small ROV’s instead of divers to execute the task. The main idea is to perform the connection underwater, but using dry-mateable connectors. A solution to make this possible is to install air pockets at the substation enclosing the connectors. These boxes are meant to be filled with air and hence create a dry environment in which to perform the connections. This is achieved with help of two tools. First a docking system allows the operator to fix the ROV at the substation before doing the connection. Then a gripper tool added to the ROV grasps the cable and connects it to the substation in the air pocket. The procedure and design of this low-cost solution are described, and the different prototypes that have been tested for offshore operation are also shown.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Wave energy, ROV, subsea connection, gripper, substation
Engineering and Technology
Research subject Engineering Science with specialization in Science of Electricity
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-259835ISBN: 978-1-880653-89-0OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-259835DiVA: diva2:845679
The Twenty-fifth International Ocean and Polar Engineering Conference, June 21-26, Kona, Hawaii, USA